HELP!!! tomorow will be my first double bass experience

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by arvidgunardi, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. HELP. I have never ever played a double bass. Maybe just fool around, but not to play in a gig. I'm replacing a guy who can't make it for a wedding gig tomorow. It'll be a duet with a piano.

    NOW, I've been playing e-bass profesionally for a long time, but never a stand up. Please help me with the crucial informations guys. Or else I'll be dead. Thumb position, left hand position, tips on intonation(played fretless before), what not to do on a D-bass that are usually done on an E-bass? DOs and DON'Ts. Thanks a million!!
  2. lpbassics

    lpbassics Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Good luck.

    Sorry, that's all I can do, but it can't hurt.

  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    good luck!

    I'll be over here watching --->
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Whatever you do, you make sure you contribute to these folks having a nice wedding. Could be a good idea to take the EB just in case, dude.
  5. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Good luck, and consider hammering some frets into your DB before the gig....
  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I'm not going to go deeply into "how-to" territory because I think your best bet is playing the gig on electric or fretless. I'm not joking and I'm not insulting you. Would you take the gig if you had to play guitar? Piano? Saxophone?

    If you go ahead with the gig on DB, bear in mind that "floppy fingers" can really hurt you. Make your elbow into a right angle. Keep your wrist straight so your carpal tunnel is open. Play on your left-hand fingertips. Make a "C" with your thumbtip and fingertips to do it. I am not a teacher. Listen to whatever anyone else on this board, who is a teacher, says and forget about what I say.

    "Thumb position" for DB players means "above the octave." Don't go there for this gig.

    Good luck. Let us know how you make out.
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I second Sam on this one. Double bass is a completely different instrument and one cannot just pick it up and play it as though it were an electric bass.

    Right hand technique: Not at all the same! If you try to pluck the string the same way you would a BG, you'll get a pretty weak-fish sound. Use the side of your finger so you can get more "meat" in the pluck (might also try using index and middle fingers at the same time), and try to get "under" the string (this is practically impossible to describe in words).

    Left hand technique: The greater scale length and the higher action will create a pretty big challenge for you. Try to hold your hand as though you were gripping a Coke can. Playing double bass requires you to use your ears much more than you would on a BG, so listen carefully to see if you are "on"... That's really all the advice I can give without actually being there to show you.

    I'd say try to show up early and try to find a way that will work for you on short notice. Good luck!
  8. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
  9. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    If you must, you might want to bring a pencil and mark intervals along the side of the neck. This might help your intonation at least - the scale (and everything else about it) might seem odd.
  10. 1. Play good time. Solid, infectious beat gets you very far.
    2. Stay in the first 3 positions or even 2. All the notes you need for the gig are there. This way you can focus on intonation.
    3. Forget about being melodically or harmonically creative. Stay with the basic changes. The right notes in a boring sequence are better than a hip line with bad time or bad intonation.
    4. A wedding? Believe it or not, the bass is not the star of the show.
    5. The intervalic relationships are the same as BG. Don't get so worked up.
    6. People will listen viscerally, not intellectually. How many music critics are attending?
    7. Relax
  11. Do you own any Ruby Slippers?
  12. Man! You guys are a tremendous help! Thank you guys so much!!;) Fortunately I borrowed a DB from a friend of mine yesterday(gig's today). ANd yes, it hurts, everything hurts....left hand, right hand.

    And I have a new incredible respect for those DB players out there! I tried to turn down the gig, but the person inchraged begged me to do it..simply because theres no one else to do it. I mean I'll just do what one of you guys said earlier...and try to keep playing in the right note with 1 or 2 position....forget about cool bass line....its good enough I can last 1.5 hrs playing...let alone intonation! I just hope the pianist isnt going to kill himself after the gig....haha:D

    Again thank you guys.....I'll keep in mind all the things mentioned above. Bless everyone!!
  13. Hey guys guess what!! Just came back from the gig, and it was a success! Well if you consider minor intonation inaccuracy acceptable, then it's successful:) HAHA

    And since it was a wedding, it didn't turn too much heads anyways....I used alot of the open strings, and the pianist agreed on playing all of the stuff in C, F, or G major. We played stuff like "The prayer" by Celine Dion etc. Not too fancy.

    Again, thank you so much for all of you who helped! Deeply appreciate it!
  14. Seppie


    Aug 14, 2002
    Austria, Vienna
    good to read that you made the gig!

    gruesze sebastian
  15. lpbassics

    lpbassics Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    see, the "good luck" always helps...

    better lucky than good I always say.

    Glad to hear it went well.:)